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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Notes from the field: Oodles come when called

Note: the following was found carved into the doorframe of a barn in West Udlmark. Make of it what you will, dear reader.

Names to which the Hirsute Oodle responds:
+Agent Baby


+100 Grand Bar


Names to which the Common Oodle responds:


+Baby Hellfire



I'm not a supermodel

This was an ad created by Body Shop. Apparently Mattel found out about it and, well...yeah. Reblog if you think this ad deserves to be seen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saying sayonara

There has been quite a bit of hoo-ha lately in the Bloggernacle (that is the Mormon blogosphere, if you were not aware) with regard to the question of why young people are leaving the church. This has grown out of a larger discussion of why young people in general are leaving Christianity behind--Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic discusses the phenomenon here. As all nine of my regular blog readers probably know, I used to be LDS or, more commonly, Mormon. When I left the church I didn't tell most of my friends up front--it came out over time, in my words and actions and opinions and sudden queries of, "Hey, want to go see (insert R-rated movie title)?" In retrospect, this was sort of unfair (especially to you, Dr She Bloggo), and I feel like giving a more complete explanation for my admittedly-abrupt shift from Molly to ExMo, especially since I have been reading the various reactions to the issue of "the nones" with interest. I mentioned this briefly awhile back, but it deserves more time, because it continues to shape who I am, for better or worse.

I am inclined to agree for the most part with Kiley's assessment at We Were Going To Be Queens. I was extremely invested in the LDS church while I was a part of it--I gave talks, held callings, read my scriptures every day, prayed, sang hymns, camped, visit-taught, attended church every Sunday. However, as things changed in my life, it became clear to me that everything I had been doing and everything I had thought I was believing in since age five was a veneer. When the tipping point finally appeared, the ease with which the LDS way of life fell away leads me to conclude that I belong in both the group that never had belief to begin with and the group that lost its belief. In some ways this is the hardest middle ground I can conceive of.

So what WAS that tipping point??

In a word, and that word said with Bill Nye flair, SCIENCE! I know that there are many scientists who reconcile faith with their work, and there are many religious folk who are skeptics and even atheists (a topic which I will return to in another post, fairly soon), but for me and Mormonism it was too much. It was biological anthropology, to be exact--evolutionary theory. I sat in that class and one day managed to see past the awesome hotness of my professor and concentrate on what he was saying, what was on the screen behind his awesomely hot head, what was in front of me in the textbook. And there it was: the Spirit. Honest to Pete, what I felt like right then, what was happening in my brain and my chest, was what I'd been told for fifteen years would happen when the Holy Spirit descended on me.

Obviously I had never felt that. But I was feeling it then. Beautiful, clear evolutionary theory! Nothing had ever made more sense, felt more right. I registered for that class without even thinking that it could damage my faith, and I left that class completely without faith. My faith, I see now, was never particularly strong to begin with, but everyone thought it was because I was such a good LDS girl, and I thought that it needed to be and I was doing something wrong. Many, many sad nights spent crying to God for repentance for perceived transgressions, and hearing and feeling nothing. Many times being told to pray harder, you'll get the right answer!

(To date, by the way, the closest things to "spiritual experiences" that I have had have been that anthropology class, the reading of various books, and a couple of heavy metal concerts. Which probably means I should start worshiping Satan.)

That afternoon after class, I broke down to my dear boyfriend about how I didn't think I could be LDS anymore. I was scared at the time mostly of what I would tell my mother, which I guess says a lot about what my testimony had been previously--I wasn't fearing for my soul, I just didn't want to hurt my mom. Well, I had to. She's still hurt about it, but if AP Lit taught me nothing else, it's that humans can't live for other people for very long before their souls begin to die (o hai Kate Chopin. Leaving a religion is better than drowning yourself, right?). And after that conversation, I felt...light. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. Furthermore, I discovered that the things I'd been trying not to think for many years, that feminists weren't really man-hating baby-eaters, that scientific theories weren't concocted by Satanists, that saying "fuck" now and then (or a lot) is more fun than anything else, that gay people ARE PEOPLE TOO: all those things were part of what made me ME. All those things are part of my ethical code. I got them from somewhere, and it was not the church, and when the church's scales fell away, those things remained and grew and developed. I remained and grew and developed.

Me. Hello, self. It was nice to meet you. We are doing wonderful things together and we will continue to. I have a different spirituality now and I attend no church, and I may attend one in the future or I may not, but I am an honest human. The LDS church may be the road to happy for some, but many roads lead that way and currently I like the one I am on.

Film Fantasy Friday: The Will of the Empress (except on Saturday)

This week's a-day-late-and-a-dollar-short edition of FFF brings you another Tamora Pierce title (I can't help myself! Her books are so eminently castable), The Will of the Empress. This is the capstone book for the two Emelan quartets, Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens. TWotE pulls the four main characters together again after being separated for three years, and they find that many things have changed. Like Pierce's other books, this one has a reasonably hefty ensemble. Behold:

Lady Sandrilene fa Toren: played by Sarah Bolger, Sandry is a thread mage and the fulcrum of this film's plot. Asked not-so-politely by her cousin to come for a visit, Sandry heads to Namorn to see the court of the Empress.

Daja Kisubo: played by Aissa Maiga, Daja is a smith-mage. She is independently wealthy at the age of 18 due to her magical prowess. She keeps a house in Summersea, Emelan's capital, where she, Briar, and Tris live. Currently she and her three foster-siblings are feuding for a variety of reasons.

Briar Moss: played by Shahid Kapoor, Briar is a plant mage. He too has quite a bit of money stemming from his power with plants. After living through a war in far-off Yanjing, he is having post-traumatic stress symptoms, which he doesn't want his foster-sisters to know about.

Trisana Chandler: played by Rachel Hurd-Wood (with a pair of spectacles), Tris is a weather-mage, one of the most powerful living. Despite this, she is relatively poor, since most of her would-be employers want to use her for battle magic, something Tris finds repulsive.

Duke Vedris IV of Emelan: played by Mark Strong, the Duke is Emelan's ruler and Sandry's uncle. He shows an inclination to make her his heir, rather than either of his ill-suited sons.

Empress Berenene dor Ocmore of Namorn: played by Marion Cotillard, Berenene is Sandry's cousin through her mother and the antagonist of the film. She intends to trap all four young mages in Namorn in order to give her court more power.

Rizu fa Dalach: played by Angel Coulby, Rizu is Berenene's mistress of the wardrobe. Rizu and Daja fall in love, but Rizu is not willing to leave Namorn to be with Daja.

Ishabal Ladyhammer: played by Helen Mirren, Ishabal is Berenene's most powerful court mage. She attempts to keep the four mages inside Namorn's border but is beaten back by their combined strength.

Ambros fer Landreg: played by Matthew Goode, Ambros is Sandry's Namornese cousin and the steward of her estates. She eventually transfers the rights of the estates to him.

Zhegorz Fiavrus: played by Tim Roth, Zhegorz is thought mad by all who come into contact with him. Tris recognizes that he hears voices on the wind and begins to teach him to harness his power.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It may come as a complete lack of surprise to you, dear readers, that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love to eat and I really love to eat potatoes, so yes--the foodiest of all American holidays is my numero uno.

I also enjoy thinking about things that I love and people that I adore. If I may wax Mormon for a moment, it is good to count your blessings. In a general life sense, I am most grateful for my friends--my beloved, my best friend, my family. I am grateful for my job and my career, my education, my ever-growing stock of books, my access to food and clean water, my privileges.

But this is a nerd blog. And nerds have a lot to be thankful for. My Nerdsgiving list includes the following.

1. Dr Who: my personal favorite incarnation as yet is pictured here. What a delectable show. Almost as yummy as mashed potatoes.

2. The Potterverse: awesome books, awesome movies, awesomely cute cast which gives me warm fuzzies, similar to the feeling of mashed potatoes in one's belly.

3. Gail Simone: lady comic book writer par excellence. Her Birds of Prey kicks so much ass, kind of like when you leave little lumps here and there in the mashed potatoes.

4. Obessive message boards: The Internet is a wonderful place for nerds, because places like Snarkfest and Fief Goldenlake exist. These are my two current favorite nerd-friendly message boards, though I used to frequent the starwars.com forums as well, where I would trade mashed potato recipes with screennames like Gothmog and Kaelis Tuar.

5. Nathan Fillion: need more be said? Warning: watching Nathan Fillion do anything for too long may induce a state of happy comatosity, similar to the effects of passing out face-down in a plate of mashed potatoes.

6. Geeky tumblrs: remember how the Internet is an awesome place for nerds? Tumblr is really helping us immerse ourselves in plates of mashed potatoes, with users like FuckYeahDickGrayson, FuckYeahMarvel, FuckYeahComicRelationships, FuckYeahInception, FuckYeahBuffy, and FuckYeahStarWars.

7. Bruce Timm cartoons: I love Bruce Timm. I have a fantasy that involves Bruce Timm, a marathon of Batman Beyond, and a kiddy pool of mashed potatoes.

8. British comedy shows: things like Peep Show, Spaced, and Top Gear (yes, I realize the last is not strictly a sitcom) hit my giggle nerve like no other, not even mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are no laughing matter.

9. Kick-ass comic book ladies: I love comics almost as much as mashed potatoes, and I really love reading about women in comics. DC has a couple of good runs going currently, including the new Birds of Prey and Gotham City Sirens, which features some of my favorite villainesses: Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. Marvel is doing Heralds, starring Emma Frost, Agent Abigail Brand (my current Marvel girl-crush), Hellcat, Monica Rambeau, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, and a few others.

10. Cowboys and Aliens: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and Harrison Ford...and aliens. My only question is, Will there be mashed potato fighting as well?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Salma Hayek wants, Salma Hayek gets



Here is what it is. Last night I dreamed about Salma Hayek. Sadly, it was not a sexy dream. However, she told me that she read my blog, liked the Film Fantasy Friday posts, but that if Lioness Rampant ever happened, she would need to be cast as Thayet.

So. Henceforth, this post, and by extension this movie, will star Salma Hayek in the role of Thayet, not my original choice of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Just thought you guys should know that celebrities are speaking to me in my dreams.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harry Potter and the *devolves into weeping*

So. Everyone in the free world knows that part one of the last Harry Potter book-to-film premiered this weekend, to the tune of over 100 million smackers.

In my wastrel youth I would've been among the robed-up hoardes standing in line at midnight last Thursday. However, I have to work and stuff now, because being a Grown-Up is boring and horrible. So I waited until yesterday evening to see this truly magical movie.

Was there crying? Is Ryan Reynolds the Sexiest Man Alive? Man, I was crying before any of the characters actually appeared. I cried when I heard the signature HP twinkly music, I cried-while-laughing when the Order of the Phoenix turned themselves into Harrys in an attempt to deflect harm from him, I cried when Hedwig dive-bombed a Death Eater and was killed, I cried when George was brought into the Burrow with his ear missing. I cried when Ron and Harry had their tiff and Ron left. I cried when Harry and Hermione danced. I cried for Xeno Lovegood trying to save his daughter. I cried when Dobby appeared and then...well, you know.

I was basically crying the whole time. Not just because, if I may be flip, this movie is Srs Bzns. Which it is--I saw a headline to the effect that "HP7 puts away childish things". This film is the trio growing up, unable to always protect their loved ones and unable to be protected by people older and wiser. It's a very sad movie, and the second installment will be even worse (mostly because it will kill off my two favorites). But maybe even more than that, my tears were because I'm grown up now too and sometimes that just kills me. Most of the people in my theatre were around my age: 20-somethings who started reading HP when they were 11 or 12 and literally grew up with the books. For my part, I blazed through the first three when I was 11 and then read each subsequent book as it came out. I spent an entire Saturday reading The Deathly Hallows when I was 20, because if I went into work the next day without knowing the end someone would spoil it for me. My cousin and I made S.P.E.W. badges and acted out our favorite scenes. I dressed up as Tonks for Halloween '06. I've read all the books at least 3 times and seen every movie at least twice.

Harry Potter is mine. I am glad, very very glad, that people of all ages love the books and movies, that the books get kids reading and the movies get adults to think about magic again. But HP is mine, and my cousin's, and my best friend's. We were kids with Harry and now we're adults with him and this movie, the beginning of the end, is the culmination of a decade of fandom, of kids believing in magic and trying to hold onto that as they grow older, of young adults finding that the magic they want to make won't always work, that first love doesn't always last, that bad people get away with doing bad things, that active compassion is the highest good, that our choices are far more important than our blood. That friends create a family.

(the unstoppable trio)

What are your Harry stories (heh)? Did you grow up reading the books, or are you a newer convert? What is most special about the films or books to you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Dammit, I am empty. I have nothing to write about, nothing to say. After this weekend I'll have thoughts on the new Potter film, but until then, is there anything my dear readers would like to see me blog about?

Monday, November 15, 2010

In other news, I've converted to Jedism

Well, not really, but if I had to have a religions...well, actually, I'd go Sith.


So, awhile back I read God of the Witches by Margaret Murray, partly for research purposes but also partly for the lulz. It IS pretty funny (although shockingly dry), and I suppose anyone interested in modern pagan movements should give it a whirl, being that we're still seeing the influence of some of Murray's theories today. In an undergrad anthropology course I read Journey to Ixtlan and then a few more of Castaneda's works; at the time I thought some of the ideas presented were compelling, but confusing--now that I know a bit more about Castaneda, I am inclined to shame that professor for not mentioning the air of disrepute and inauthenticity surrounding Castaneda and "Don Juan".

Given these experiences, and a discussion on a previous post here, I was inspired (o hai LDS buzzword) to make some notes about the effects of fiction on religious feeling and experience.* For my part as an a-religious person, I venture that fiction books can have at least the same impact and sometimes a greater impact on a person's religious development than "scripture". I've read a good bit of Marion Zimmer Bradley's works (and by good bit I mean all of them. Even the crappy "Diana L. Paxson as Marion Zimmer Bradley" books in the Avalon series) and though my opinion of them, chiefly The Mists of Avalon, has changed somewhat since I was 15, I still find their depiction of ritual and goddess worship extremely beautiful and evocative. Similarly, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant purports to tell the story of Dina in the Old Testament, by way of Semitic and proto-Semitic goddess worship. Like Mists, The Red Tent shows a women's religion in full flower and I found Dina's story of her four "mothers", Jacob's wives, and their commitment to their goddesses quite moving. One of my favorite blogger/authors, Dianne Sylvan, noted in a post some time ago that her reactions to the book Strands of Starlight affected her personal religion more than "a dozen Wicca 101 books".

I think there is a lot to be said for allowing books you love to affect your religious feelings. If I were looking to implement a personal religion, I would likely take a smattering from Wrapt in Crystal, a pinch from the world of The King's Peace, a dash from the Living Circle path outlined in Tamora Pierce's Emelan books, mash together with some good old-fashioned spiral dancing, and paint it on thick as woad. I guess my point is that if you happen upon something, whether in a book or in a movie or in a song, and it moves you to some specific deep feeling, if it makes you want to be better, if it makes you rejoice--that's what I want a religion to do. It should be touching, moving, rich and interesting and active. Does it matter to your bones and your spirit if that something that kicked you into gear is "inauthentic" or "not real"?

Authenticity, or lack of, is intriguing. Carlos Castaneda's books about Don Juan are almost certainly false; Margaret Murray's books The Witch Cult in Western Europe and God of the Witches are based on scant evidence and a fair bit of complete fiction; Charles Leland's book Aradia has a similarly murky factual basis. But in the religious realm, does this really matter? Not to say that religious paths must ignore facts, but I think it's possible for a person to read any of the above purported non-fiction books OR any of the admitted fictions and draw great inspiration from them. The only problem arises when a person tries to make their personal truth into a universal one, but this happens with ALL religions.

If I find The Wicker Man compelling and beautiful, if I listen to "The Old Ways" or "Moon and Moon" and am moved to change or action, if I read The Firebrand and from there immerse myself in classical mythology and Hellenic reconstructionist religions, where is the difference from reading the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita or listening to hymns? If the end result is the same--a new outlook, a changing soul, an active spirituality--who is to say boo? Find inspiration everywhere, in all things, proven fact or glorious fiction.

*Of course the snarky among us may say, What religions AREN'T based on fiction? Snark away, my dears.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here's the thing. If you watch the Glee episode "Funk" and take a drink every time a character says the word "funk", you will be drunk in under an hour. This is because they say that word 29 TIMES IN THE EPISODE. If you are really feeling down, watch "Hairography" and do the same for "distraction", or "Theatricality" and "theatricality" or "Home" and "home".

Please note: use beer, not liquor. This is a very, VERY good way to get drunk. You don't want to be taking 20 shots of vodka in an hour, do you? I didn't think so.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Film Fantasy Friday: Wuthering Heights

Ok dudes, superawesomedeliciouspostinprogress is still in progress and after this week I have nothing left in me except the desire to indulge in a fantastically unrealistic casting of Wuthering Heights. Not my favorite Bronte book, but I'm very (very) taken with the new Jane Eyre trailer and so I'm in a windy-moors-Byronic-heroes mindset. Also, I am kind of depressed. Also again, I wanted to see if I could keep all the Lintons and Earnshaws straight. Also the third, everyone please note my restraint in not casting Michael Fassbender for every role anything. Less do this!

Catherine Earnshaw Linton: played by Keira Knightley, Catherine is beautiful, tempestuous, and not a little crazy. She is mired in a frightening love/hate relationship with Heathcliff, but denies their bond and marries Edgar instead and then dies of boredom

Heathcliff: played by Ben Whishaw, Heathcliff is adopted by Catherine and Hindley's father; no one knows where Heathcliff comes from or who his people are. Dark, brooding, and not a little crazy, Heathcliff marries Isabella, torments her, and eventually wastes away after Catherine's death.

Edgar Linton: played by Chris Egan, Edgar is spoiled, boring, and ineffectual. Attracted by his wealth, Catherine marries Edgar and gives birth to their daughter, Cathy.

Isabella Linton Earnshaw: played by Clemence Poesy, Isabella is Edgar's spoiled sister. She is lured and bullied by turns into marrying Heathcliff. On their wedding day, he kills her dog! She eventually gives birth to their son, Linton and becomes estranged from Heathcliff.

Cathy Linton Earnshaw: played by Aisling Loftus, Cathy is the strong-willed, mostly wild daughter of Catherine and Edgar. She marries her cousin, Linton, but after his death and that of her father, she moves to Wuthering Heights.

Linton Earnshaw: played by Alex Pettyfer, Linton is the sickly child of Isabella and Heathcliff. He and Cathy marry very young, but Linton dies soon after.

Hareton Earnshaw: played by Skandar Keynes, Hareton is the son of Catherine's older brother Hindley. Given little education and abused by his half-uncle (?) Heathcliff as well as his father, Hareton is wild and strange. Cathy takes him in hand, teaches him to read and use utensils, and they plan to marry.

Hindley Earnshaw: played by David O'Hara, Hindley is the drunk, abusive older brother of Catherine. He spends his portion of the story swearing, drinking, and throwing his son down stairs.

Nellie Dean: played by Imelda Staunton, Nellie is the lifelong servant of the Earnshaws. She moves between the Heights and Thrushcross Grange depending on where Catherine and the children are. She is a bit of a busybody and narrates the story.

Mr. Lockwood: played by Jude Law, Mr. Lockwood is Heathcliff's tenant at the outset of the story. The film unfolds through the lens of Nellie filling him in on the family gossip. He is a leeeeeeetle bit gay.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Dear readers, I am stupidly busy in my work, school, and personal lives. However, I am working on a post that I think deserves time and attention, so be on the look-out for that.

In the meantime, here's my new favorite cat macro, combining two of my favorite things: kittens and the Doctor!

Friday, November 05, 2010

In which our heroine falls in love

Usually my ladyboners are reserved for things like Robert Downey, Jr.'s abs and each new piece of Tron: Legacy footage that emerges. However, this one is occurring due to something a bit closer to home. You see, my dear manfriend is applying to various medical schools and presumably this time next year we will be somewhere that is not Trampa, Florida. If you've ever been to Tampa, you know why I'm so happy; though I will miss my friends and warm weather dearly, this is just really not where I want to spend my primo years.

So that's part of the titillation--leaving the Bay behind. Another part is where we might be going. His, and now my, top two schools are located in Des Moines, Iowa, and Cleveland, Ohio. Oh Diana! you say. The Midwest? The HEARTLAND? You're a coastal elite! How will you survive without mass quantities of water around you at all times? How will you survive the...snow??! As for water, yes, Des Moines has little to offer; Cleveland, however, is located on Lake Erie! Snow, well, from my mother's experience and what I've read, acclimation only takes a few months. I'll get over it.

And you know why I'll get over it? Know why I suddenly have a hard-on for the Midwest? Cleveland is consistently ranked one of the most livable cities in the country and Des Moines is getting there. Both have higher average salary rates and lower costs of living than anywhere in Florida. Cleveland's public transit system was ranked the best in the country in 2007 (and you all know how I feel about public transit). Des Moines has a great ape trust AND was ranked "Best Place for Businesses and Careers" by Forbes in 2010! Both are far bluer than even the bluest area of Florida (Miami)! Cleveland has Drew Carey!

(If you can't dazzle, wear 'em down)

Ok, that's it. You've outed me. Despite its many, many flaws, I love The Drew Carey Show. And that is why it's now my new dream to make Cleveland, Ohio, my intermediate step on the road north of the border, with Des Moines being an extremely close second. Heartland here we come!

Film Fantasy Friday: A Great and Terrible Beauty

Happy Friday, everyone! This week's edition of Trains Hollywood Should Get On Immediately is all about Victorians, boarding schools, and magic! A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first in the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, is a fantasy story set in a girls' school in 1890s Great Britain. The film will feature a fairly large ensemble; here are the core characters:

Gemma Doyle: played by Rachel Hurd-Wood (yep, she's a fave), Gemma is the main protagonist and a new student at Spence Academy for Young Ladies. At first bullied, she finds herself in the midst of the popular girls...and playing with magic.

Felicity Worthington: played by Romola Garai, Felicity is the queen bee of Spence. Fiery and cunning, Felicity leads the pack of girls which at first teases and then accepts Gemma.

Pippa Cross: played by Emmy Rossum, Pippa is the resident beauty. A bit vain and silly, Pippa and Felicity are best friends.

Ann Bradshaw: played by Carey Mulligan, Ann is Gemma's roommate. She is plain and poor, a charity student who is tormented by Pippa and Felicity, but she becomes part of the group at Gemma's behest.

Miss Moore: played by Julianna Margulies, Miss Moore is the art teacher at Spence who tells the girls stories of a group of sorceresses called the Order.

Kartik: played by Dev Patel, Kartik is a member of the Rakshana, a shadowy group of men who are both protectors and rivals of the Order. Gemma and Kartik are attracted to one another, but are separated by race and social mores.

Mrs. Nightwing: played by Emily Watson, Mrs. Nightwing is the stuffy headmistress of Spence.

Circe: played by Natalia Tena, Circe is another name for Sarah Rees-Toome, a member of the Order who was involved in a mysterious fire at Spence twenty years before the story opens.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images taken from Google and Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Art appreciation

So, I found today's post on Pandagon interesting and pretty much spot on (though I have a weird love for Taylor Swift's music).

However, the idiots in the thread getting all defensive because they thought the image used in the post was sexy when it clearly isn't are making Diana cry. Tell me, dear readers--what comes to mind when you look at this image, regardless of what you know or remember about The Iliad?

This image is one of general desecration. The woman is being carried bodily over the shoulder of a muscular man whose fists are clenched; she is nearly naked with her clothing being torn open; she is reaching back toward the atlar, presumably in supplication to the goddess. There is no sexy here. Furthemore, there is plenty of context for the image, given that the title of the post refers to "Cassandra" and "Troy". Even if you don't know who Cassandra is, this image is about the victors of that war--and who where they? Not the Trojans! What happens when a war is won? Raping and pillaging, that's what!

It doesn't take an art major. This is not deep artistic theory, this isn't even that deep of a painting--it's what's THERE. I think the author of the original post taking some time to point out to her readers the pitfalls of associating "naked female form" with "sexy" and particularly "naked female form being overpowered by male" with "sexy" would be good, since it's a feminist blog often concerned with popular culture, art, and entertainment.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Oh my goddess!

No, this is not a post about the manga. One of the most recent entries at Feminist Mormon Housewives discussed the concept of the Heavenly Mother in the LDS church--or rather, the lack of concept. For those not familiar with LDS doctrine, the theology considers "God" to be the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three separate and distinct beings.


Something's missing, isn't it? For a church which emphasizes the motherly role of women and the significance of the traditional family structure, one would expect the godhead to include a fourth figure: God the Mother. But nary a mention in the mainstream church. Oh, you'll get a mention here of Heavenly Mother smiling down on you, a throwaway comment there about how it "makes sense" that there's a Mother-figure up there alongside the Father-figure, but nothing concrete and no commitment. The most I ever heard my (extremely garrulous) Mormon stepfather say about Heavenly Mother was when I asked him why we didn't know about her, and he gave me the apparently-familiar and sanctioned spiel about Heavenly Father not wanting all us Earth bastards to take Her name in vain.

Bullshit, of course. There is no Mother-figure in the LDS church because, despite all the fawning talk about women's divine natures and holy roles as mothers and wives, women are not valued in that community to the extent that men are. The church was one of men's making and they, like so many others, created God in their image.

As you will see if you click through the fmH link, many LDS women are concerned, frustrated, saddened, and angered by this lack in church doctrine. There is no divine feminine for them to look up to, despite the exhortations of leaders to develop one's divine nature. There is no Mother-figure to turn to and pray to as the members are encouraged to pray to the Father. The lack of the Mother undermines LDS doctrine; I wonder how the leaders have not noticed this? Perhaps they noticed and tried to ignore it, but ultimately, I hope, women will rise and there will be a Heavenly Mother to back them up.

Eliza R. Snitch's recent entries about the book Women Who Run With Wolves, for me, feed into and draw steam from the issue of Heavenly Mother. The book and her reactions to it are philosophical and utilize the concept of "Wild Woman" as feelings, instincts, reactions, and desires which are repressed for a variety of reasons and which women and men alike must return to in order to live fully and truly. However, I see "Wild Woman" as being directly connected to Heavenly Mother; both are lost, repressed, and stifled, and both are utterly necessary in different ways. For a mainstream religious woman--by which I mean a woman belonging to a sect in one of the Big Three faiths--to be without a divine corollary is often depressing and frustrating, and reinforces feelings of helplessness and unworthiness. The lack of divine female figures allows women to be cut off from Wild Woman, allows those in control to decree what instincts, feelings, and desires are proper. In the LDS church, the missing Mother allows the patriarchs to close women off from the priesthood.

(Danu, the mother goddess of the Tuatha de Danaan in Irish myth)

My heart is with women in these situations, whatever religion they belong to. Since forsaking the LDS way for a life of sin and intellectualism, I have spent a good amount of time reading feminist literature about divine femininity, as well as various ethnographic texts about religions which embrace a female deity. What I have found and continue to find is beautiful and complex and rich. I am not currently in need of a well-broken religious path to follow, but you may be assured that if that time comes, the path I choose will welcome and revere women and sing praises to a divine lady.

(Beautiful "Danu" image taken from Thalia Took's A-Muse-Ing Grace Gallery. You can admire the rest of her amazing artwork here.)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Candy crash

Dear readers, I hope you all had a marvelous Halloween weekend. When I rule the world, I will decree that when Halloween falls on a weekend day, all three weekend evenings will be open for trick-or-treating. This "ZOMG Halloween is on Sunday, what do we DO??!" business was just silly. However, it did allow me to here a totally new totally crazy anti-Halloween comment: "I don't celebrate Halloween because it's Satan's birthday and neither should you!"

...Satan's birthday? I wasn't aware that birthdays were ascribed to either the Christian god OR his main squeeze nemesis. Go figure.

At any rate, I STILL HAVEN'T HAD ANY CANDY CORN. Jeebus H. Cristobal, how did that happen? I love candy corn. Last night I got a call from my boyfriend and he said, Diana, I love you, but there is no more candy corn left in the state of Florida. So we made turtle brownies instead. Then we celebrated Satan's birthday by first, seeking advice from my Ouija board and learning that we will move to Canada in 3.5-4 years, second, predicting that our friend Tony will eventually pro wrestle for the WWE through a glass pendulum on a string, and third, finding out that cats will eventually rule the world via my awesome Llewellyn Tarot deck. Beetlejuice was also viewed, Dr Who and Rose costumes were worn, and a fine time was had by all. We had zero trick-or-treaters, but someone does seem to have stolen one of our pumpkins from our front stoop. ALAS.

And no, it is not even a little bit cold here yet.
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